Bahrain Cracks Down on Gay Migrant Workers
July 11, 2002
371 A. Bonifacio Drive, Port Area, Manila, Philippines
By Joshua Dancel
The government of Bahrain has begun cracking down on homosexual migrant
workers, including those who are Filipino.
Administrator Wilhelm Soriano of the Overseas Workers Welfare
Administration (OWWA) said yesterday overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) found to
be gay would be deported by Bahrain starting next week.
An Islamic state comprising 33 islands on the western side of the Persian
Gulf, Bahrain embraces Islam which bans homosexuality. Its capital and largest
city of Bahrain is Manama.
Soriano said the Bahraini government has already issued closure notices to
about 500 beauty salons, massage parlors, flower and tailoring shops where
gays are believed to be employed.
"Bahraini police suspected these shops and stores provide haven for
illicit homosexual activities and prostitution," he said.
These service shops and stores employ about 2,000 gay Filipinos, he said.
Soriano said the Bahrain government would start padlocking these shops and
deporting all homosexual OFWs.
He said the Philippine embassy has received numerous requests to make plead
with the Bahrain government to give the workers at least six months, enough
time for them to finish their contracts and prepare for the trip home.
"Others have gone to courts seeking to defer the enforcement of the
crackdown," he said.
Soriano said embassy officials and welfare officers are preparing an
agreement with the host government as soon as official notification is sent to
The only setback that Soriano sees once Bahrain makes good its threat is
that the embassy would be deluged with calls for help from runaway gay
"I’m expecting 2,000 gay workers to be affected, most likely to be
sent home," Soriano said.
He did not say how many Filipinos work in Bahrain. There are more than a
million Filipinos employed in the Middle East.
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